Skip to main content

tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  May 30, 2012 9:00am-12:00pm EDT

9:00 am
i would just go back to this notion there should be a care coordination plan that
9:01 am
is person-centered, not patient-centered particularly when you're talking about somebody who is chronically ill and functionally limited. as long as we have these little silos, that is almost a place to close on, care coordination is in essence a technology we don't really know how to use very well. we have examples of how to use it but getting that roll out could be important. >> well, thank you all for a terrific and vigorous discussion. i would note that depending on whether you are a glass half full or a glass half empty type of person you heard a lot here that will send you one way or the other. [laughter] i will say what i heard was, we do have a lot of solutions, actionable solutions. frankly most of them are being tried. maybe a case of more, better, faster but most of them are being tried. we heard about the increased
9:02 am
need for end of life, better end of life care, end of life engagement. a quick commercial for health affairs. our june issue is devoted to a range of issues what we call the care span thanks to scan foundation. please read a piece by bruce dignity driven information. as he is talking about today as prospect for making med headway on that issue. we heard a lot about care coordination. we know a lot of efforts are getting underway or are underway. we heard about the role of newly trained and empowered types of providers. ken brought up the community health teams working in vermont and elsewhere. we heard about the known successful interventions around the diabetes intervention program, transitional care program, et cetera. that is clearly a case of more, better, faster. we knows these work. we simply have to adopt them and put them to better use.
9:03 am
we heard about the role of patient and family engagement. again clear evidence in the reserve if you really engage parents or as we otherwise call them people in their care decisions they get better care and are happier with the outcomes. we didn't spend as much time on some of the things on joe's list. we know those are out there. those are changes in private insurance. whether move to selective provider networks, value based insurance design, et cetera. joe we left you alone on premium support and medicare being one potential. that for our next session. i think again just to close, we have a lot of evidence here that we have tools that work and again, if you're a class half empty person we're not doing it enough. if you're a glass half full at least we're trying. so there is a lot of perspective here for some additional inroads to be
9:04 am
made in whether again it's the level or the rate of growth we can, we have some evidence that we can make a difference. so with that let me turn things over to ed. i think you will say a word or two about the next enstallment in this series. >> yes, thank you, susan. we are, we are going to start talking about solutions. we talked a bit about solutions today but we knew that we needed to tap your brains on that aspect of it as well. june 12th, which someone pointed out to me is a tuesday, not a wednesday, will be convening the third and last briefing in this series in this space but not in this time. we're going to start with a lunch and go to a reception which will note the fact that this series is supposed to mark 20 years of activity by the alliance for health reform. so i guess we can take
9:05 am
credit for the health system's condition over the last 20 years. [laughter] let me just quickly thank our sponsors, our hosts and most particularly our panelists and speakers for an incredibly good discussion i think of an incredibly difficult topic. [applause] and before i let you go could you please as you rise and collect your things, pull the blue evaluation form out of your packets and give us some feedback and particularly give us some notions of what we might do next following the wrap-upsession in june to try to contribute to the dialogue that could get us some progress on controlling health care costs. once again, thank you all for coming and we'll look forward to see you next time. bye.
9:06 am
>> live pictures this morning from washington, d.c. we are bringing you live coverage of an all-day conference on voting rights co-hosted by the congressional black caucus and the conference of national black churches. we expect to hear remarks from the chair of conference of national black churches and chair of the congressional black caucus. during the day, attorney general eric hold will give the keynote address and congressman charles wrangle and marshall fudge of ohio. we'll bring it to you in a few moments. we understand they're running behind. we'll have live coverage on c-span2. we've on been highlighting a
9:07 am
number of commencement speeches past few days. remarks from ceo of google eric schmidt. he talks to graduates at uc-berkeley. [applause] >> thank you, edward and, the best thing about greeting probably approximately half of the class is the woman who came in on her phone saying, mom, i've got to go. i've got to go now. this is the new cal graduate. always talking to her mother. now it's great to be back here on campus. it is an honor to be invited and an honor to hold a degree from berkeley and an honor to look out on this next generation of golden bears. when you return to a place of intense memories you think it's a place that has changed so much but in truth you are the one who has changed more. your memories will be vivid.
9:08 am
things will look a little different but you will feel very much the same. when you return to berkeley you will have changed and in turn you will have changed the world. before i begin, i want to remind you tomorrow is mother's day right? for all the mothers out there. the graduates might be the stars of today but know they would not shine as rightly if you were not here and i say to all of you graduates, if you first don't succeed, do it like your mom told you to do it. that may be the most important advice i could give you today. so time is money. most of all time is dreams and computers give you time for dreams. i walked across the stage in 1982 for my ph.d and that year the computer was "time" magazine's person of the year. that quote is from that
9:09 am
article. computers were just entering the mainstream. big, block can i contraptions lugged into houses and plunged down on desks. most of america had no idea the power of those machines but most americans started to find they suddenly had more time for dreams. even in their wildest dreams though, there is no way that 30 years ago that children, grandchildren, would carry something exponentially more powerful everywhere they go, on their laps, their pockets. digital connections forged among millions of people around the world tethered together at all times to form a worldwide community. computers obviously gave me time to dream too. back then, when i was like you, going to the greek theater and stanford games and wandering up and down telegraph, it felt like a new world was being imagined right here on campus in all the different labs and workshops and dorms. there was something in the
9:10 am
air that made you think, something that made you dream and today i feel that again being here with you. just the other day i saw a video of a eshg aboutly student who had totally automated his dorm room. his lights, his refrigerator, his television and everything powered from his mobile device. now the romantic mode mirror was a particularly nice touch i thought showing berkeley creativity. this is one small scale example. but the energy here is similar to energy i felt 30 years ago and before that i suspect and before that going back generations that is what is special about berkeley. a police committed to personal liberty and free expression. a place where human nism and science can could exist and feed off each other in service of a better day. as the chancellor said, 22 noble laureates, olympic gold medalist, supreme court justice, secretary of defense, writers, artists business pioneers and oscar winners and reining nfl, mvp,
9:11 am
this is pretty exciting they all roamed this beautiful campus and left to make their mark on society, culture and on the world. and now you follow them. yes, you, sitting right there, baking in the sun after two hours, possibly nursing a hangover. don't tell your parents, right? don't tell your parents. my god, that's a lot of pressure. what can i do? well, what can i dream? that is ire question to answer but i can't do it for you. but here's what i know. i know one thing is for certain. no graduate in class gets to choose the world they graduate into. just like you don't get to choose your parents and your siblings. every class has its own unique challenges. every class enters a history up to this point is being written for it. this is no different. what is different though is the chance each generation has to make that history and
9:12 am
write it larger, or in my business, to program it better. and on that score your generation's opportunities are greater than any generations in modern history. you can actually write the code for all of us as a society. you're connected to each other in ways those who came before you can only dream of and you're using those connections to strengthen the invisible ties that hold humanity together and to allow us to sort of deepen our understanding of the world around us. you are the emblems of the sense of possibility that will define our new age. in the past it is always older generations standing up on high trying to teach the next generation the ways of the world, trying to make sure they follow in their footsteps. graduates, i will admit, i think it is different today. you're quite simply teaching us. interesting. this generation, your generation is the first fully-connected generation
9:13 am
the world has ever known. what's the first thing you do when you get up? check your phone? your laptop? read some e-mail? comb through your social networks. update your status. i'm awake, right? [laughter] as opposed to i'm not awake. if you are awake, you are online. you are connected. some of you are probably texting to your friend right now. tweeting the speech. changing your status. smile, you're on camera, right? welcome to our new world. there is a joke about a college kid being mugged who says hold on, stop. let me update my status. letting my friends know that i'm getting mugged and then you can have my phone. and i suspect that if somebody from berkeley would have actually do that. now this is obviously a joke but it is also telling. it is a depiction how essential our technology has become to your generation's ability and your ability to connect with them. identity and connection
9:14 am
concepts are as old as humanity itself. they define so much of who we are now. they shape our times. they define the human condition. identity and connection, it's your task to make those time-worn concepts, spin them around, reimagine them, make them fresh and new and exciting. berkeley helps build the plat form you based that on. they built it for all of us. i know it is daunting. i know it is not a great economy to be walking off the stage into. i know all of this but i also know you have advantages. you have a competitive edge. you have an innate mastery of technology. you have an ability to build and foster connections that know generation before you has ever possessed. people bemoan a generation who grew up living life in front of screens, always connected to something or someone. those people are wrong. they're absolutely wrong. the fact is that we're all connected now is a blessing,
9:15 am
not a curse. we can solve many problems in the world as a result of this. it's not only an advantage that you have, it is a responsibility that you carry. i mean today there are 54 wars and conflicts raging around the world. 1 1/2 billion people live on less than a dollar a day. hundreds of millions of children go to bed hungry tonight. we need to fix that. nearly half the world's people don't live under democratic governments and rights we all enjoy, are a rarity, not a norm. i'm proud to be an american. when it comes to the internet we think everyone is online but only one billion people have smartphones. only two billion have access to the web. for most of the world, internet cafes are like digital owe ace sees in in technological deserts. there is spread of mobile phones. the new forms of connectivity offer us the
9:16 am
pros he can speck of -- prospect of connecting every community in our lifetime. when that happens, connectivity can revolutionize every aspect of society, politically, socially, economically. >> we'll leave the speech at this point. you can see it in its entirety online in the c-span video library. go to we're going live to that all-day conference on voting rights co-hosted by the congressional black caucus and the conference of national black churches. this is just getting under way. >> in collaboration with the congressional black caucus for the purpose of addressing the issues of state rights, of voting rights in our communities across america in a very critical hour. i want to thank the congressional black caucus and its chairman, reverend cleaver, for who have worked
9:17 am
with staff, staffs of the various congressman, who have served and helped us to facilitate this gathering for the purpose of empowering our community. so this morning we begin this first day of this consultation, this day, dedicated totally to the issues of the voter rights, and how our churches help encourage registration and participation in the voting process. i'm going to ask now that bishop, bishop mckinley will come, mckinley young, who is our worship leader. he is the bishop of the african methodist episcopal church. he presides over, i know florida at least. florida and the bahamas. i want to go to the bahamas part of his district but i certainly am grateful for his leadership.
9:18 am
also want to celebrate the fact that his daughter, stephanie young, has been an important facilitator. she's a part of the staff of the congressional black caucus and we want to celebrate him as he comes to lead us this morning in our, what we call manner, our pray of devotion. >> thank you, mr. president. good morning. prays the lord. the good morning. praise the lord. i am mckinley young, i welcome you to this time of preparation. we are pleased to be blessed by the assistance of two very able sisters who are here, cindy brown and lucy young. they will lead us now in appropriate fellowship opening song so we might begin. cindy brown and lucy young. would you come over here. ♪ .
9:19 am
stand for fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms. ♪ . ♪ .
9:20 am
♪ . >> amen. praise the lord. please take your seats. if you would. we'll be led in prayer by the reverend dr. bobby williams skinner, white house counsel on faith based and neighborhood partnerships will come at this time to lead us to the
9:21 am
throne of grace that every heart be. dr. skinner. >> let us look to the hills this morning, our brothers and sisters. oh sovereign god of the universe and creator of all that live, god we greet you this morning with praise on our lips and thanksgiving in our hearts for another day to acknowledge your awesome power, your excellent greatness and your matchless love. god, there are no words this morning to express our gratitude for your keeping power over our lives and our families and our work. for even when we moved in ways that offended you, god, you still sent jesus to die in our place, giving us the authority this morning to come boldly to your thrown of grace to seek the help and mercy in time of need. god, today the conference of national black churches
9:22 am
needs your grace and mercy for the healing of our people, the building of communities and the empowering of those left on the back roads of life. this morning, lord, we feel a special gratitude for the many heads of historically african-american demom nations and mainline churches who are not ashamed of the gospel and who collectively seek your wisdom and your power for the issues we wrestle with in this vital consultation. god, our nation, our world is in trouble right now on every side, on every side, god, so we pray especially this morning for our chairman, dr. w. franklyn richardson and our hard-working president, dr. jacquie burton and for their tireless service and their passion for the outworking of our good news of the our lord and savior jesus christ. quip cnbc practice of
9:23 am
democracy for all americans. and may the spirit of the true and living god fall fresh on this national consultation, god. that we may emerge even more united, more reformed equipped and renewed engaged in battle, like voting rights protection we thought were won years ago. help us not to grow weary in doing well, for you called us to stand courageously and boldly in the gap for those written out of the american dream and it is our commitment to write them back in. may the character and love of christ define all that we do above all else. this is our prayer today, for our speakers, for our chairman of the congressional black caucus, our pastor of congress and all of those who will address us this day, we praise you an we give you all the glory that is due your awesome, your matchless name, your mighty name, and
9:24 am
we thank you, we thank you, we thank you, god. we can't thank you enough, god for all that you have done in jesus mighty name. amen >> thank you, dr. skinner. i will ask if you do just a shortened selection now for us, something that you choose and then our president, president, the reverend w. franklyn richardson will present the honorable congressman cleaver who will bring the message this morning. ♪ .
9:25 am
>> show the love for cindy brown anddlucy brown and cindy young. they are our choir of record today. thank you. ♪ . ♪. ♪ .
9:26 am
♪ .
9:27 am
♪ . ♪ . >> amen. [applause] now our leader, our beloved president, the reverend dr. william franklyn richardson. >> thank you very much. thank you very much, bishop mckinley young for your
9:28 am
leadership in worship this morning. let me ask those of you who are sitting over there, i'm concerned about moving, if those he iss especially in the back, if you come into this section it is important. one thing we make sure we give the best presentation of our presence. this is being covered by c-span and other media outlets and we want to project ourselves in the right and appropriate way. don't sit on the fringes. we need you in the heart of the meeting. we want you to be a part of it. i am particularly grateful this morning, as i said in my opening comments, that to have this partnership today with the congressional black caucus is a historical activity. when the black church and the congressional black caucus comes together on behalf of our people it is
9:29 am
amajor historical event. [applause] it is a replication however of what goes on in our communities across the country because all of the congressional black caucus members will tell you they couldn't have been elected without the work of the black churches in their district. what we brought from a national perspective what goes on in our communities all the time, a partnership between our congressional leadership and the churches. and so we are blessed to have a cleric, who is heading up as chairman of the congressional black caucus at this moment in history and it is no small reason that we are together that he is here and that he is serving as chairman in this critical moment.
9:30 am
and so i am grateful this morning to have had him to accept, to bring us the spoken word, the manna from on high, the meat by which we begin this time together and we're happy to have reverend cleaver. he is pastor, his son is pastoring now at st. james, st. james church in kansas city, missouri. he is, had a career of transformative leadership in that community. he is not only serving as congressman but for many years he served as the mayor of kansas city. he is a effective mayor. he has served, he has brought honor to what it means, you know some actions of all individual clergy help to define what the collective meaning of who we are and this preacher has
9:31 am
added so much to what it means to be a black preacher in america. some of us in our roles diminish what it means but he has amplified and enriched what a black clergy person is as he has served as mayor, as he has served as congressman and as he serves now as the chairman of the congressional black caucus. so it is my real joy, a dear friend, i've been in his presence many times and delighted today to welcome him to bring this word, the reverend emanuel cleaver ii, congressman of the great fifth district of missouri and chairman of the congressional black caucus. let us welcome him as we proceed this morning. [applause] >> amen. amen. we are very pleased to see
9:32 am
you and we know that there has been bad weather as a result of the hurricane and a number of people had flights delayed. in fact my son just arrived. he had to spent the night in cincinnati because they stopped all flights coming from the other side of the mississippi. there is another side incidentally. [laughter] we'll make sure that there is no confusion here. and also i think it's important for me to start out by letting you know that the congressional black caucus in its 41st year is an organization that now boasts of having 43 members.
9:33 am
when the caucus cast original was originally formed there were 13 members and few if any thought that one day we would have 4 members plus a former member, a former member, now sits in the white house and a few would have dared even dreamed that that could happen. so it is also important for us to acknowledge that with all of the problems we have as a nation, as we point them out we must also point out the tremendous progress and movement we've had with regard to race relations in this country and i'm always troubled when i hear someone say, well things have not gotten better. they have gotten, they have gotten better and those who have struggled to make things better should be
9:34 am
acknowledged and not discouraged. [applause] and in the front of this growth has always been the black church and i was asked once why everything african-americans do end up in the church? and that is usually the wrong question. the question is when it moves out of the church into the community who then takes the lead? but it began in the church whether you're talking about the great musicians in our country or whether you're talking about the great political leaders. whether they be the first african-american elected to congress in the 20th century, adam clayton powell, the reverend adam clayton powell. and when you look at the civil rights movement, there
9:35 am
are titles in front of the leaders. reverend martin luther king, jr., reverend ralph abernathy, reverend fred shuttles worth. reverend c. k. steele and reverend jim lawson. so the list goes on and on. so we do not apologize for our connection to the progress in this country and there is little question, at least in my mind that the work of the conference of national black churches has been critical and vital and the agenda you set forth today i think is extremely ambitious and necessary for the attention of the clergy. so i appreciate the board of the conference of national black churches and of course to the president, dr. franklyn and to
9:36 am
dr. jacqueline burton who has carried this load on her back for months now. so we appreciate everything that you have done. i'm going to be brief primarily because you want me to be and -- [laughing] since we just have preachers here i figure we can just be straight out honest and so i'm going to hurry as you want. and you know, we had a, a young woman who went to church with me this past weekend up in newark who had grown up in the catholic church and of course she was, you know, concerned and confused over what everything was. so she sat with a young woman who i knew from kansas city who was in newark at the church, at metropolitan baptist church and so she was asking the young lady i found out after
9:37 am
the service about everything. so she, she was asking, you know, what does it mean when the people start waving their hands? and said, oh, that means they're getting into the service. that means the spirit is lively and she said well, what does it mean when the choir members start singing and doing this? it means that the choir is in it. she said, what does it mean when the pastor takes off his watch before the sermon? if. that means absolutely nothing. [laughter] but i, i do, i do want it to mean something today. we are facing a many issues
9:38 am
in washington and those issues will impact the people you pastor in local communities and we hope to present information throughout the day through the generosity of time of the council of, national council of black churches that will help you relate to your parishioners as they deal with these problems that will continue to arise as we move closer to november. so we are concerned about the new move it seems to reduce voter participating -- participation in the world's greatest democracy and i, i was the recipient on behalf of the black caucus of the
9:39 am
nelson mandela award two weeks ago and when i stood up to speak one of the things i spoke about was what happened in south africa when the african-americans or the afterry cans were able to vote in the country for the first time. i made reference to the 95-year-old old man who sat out in the sun all day, for one day and a part of another day just for the chance to vote. and how the people in south africa have tried to do everything to get more and more people interested in voting. and the united states, the world's greatest democracy, we are now passing laws to reduce the involvement of people. and it would seem to me in a democracy we should do every
9:40 am
single thing we can to encourage voters, even voting after church on sunday. and that would assure a more and more voters in the political process. so we're having some strange eschews to surface for some strange reasons as we approach november. but the group to address those problems is gathered here today and so i want to talk to you just briefly using the words that were recorded in the fourth chapter and the 16th verse of the gospel according to luke. it is a word that you all know by memory as jesus and his disciples are passing through the region called galilee, they look up and see a village and someone
9:41 am
says, well, you know, that is the hometown of jesus. and then nathaniel remarks, can anything good come out of nazareth. in luke we find the description is made that nazareth was where jesus was brought up. there is nothing in the holy bible, god's word, to suggest that christmas is a sacrament or even that it should be celebrated at all. that is somewhat quizcal, considering the musicals, the parties, the parades, the christmas trees and house decorations and family gatherings during the festival christmas. in fact christmas decorations seem to appear earlier and earlier and last longer and longer which means there is very little breathing space for easter.
9:42 am
many people have begun to sing the christmas song, it is beginning to look a lot like christmas, during the 4th of july barbecues. [laughter] jesus never admonished us, remember my birth. he did in the final meal or what we call the passover with the disciples notified us to remember his sacrificial death. he said do this in remembrance of me, during my days of derision in seminary i began to believe that it was silly to argue the authenticity of the virgin birth. i have not, nor will i engage in debate over the emaculate conception while i do as a matter of truth accept the mysteium
9:43 am
surrounding the birth of christ, my faith is not affixed to it. unfortunately we have more of a fixation on the birth of christ than the life of christ. the virgin birth while biblically sound is not central to my faith. and any way in all my years no one asked about my own conception. no one has ever said, now can you tell me when you were conceived? nobody is interested in our conception. no one cares. i've spoken around this country and no one has asked for introductory information surrounding my conception. and so it seems to me that's not that crucial. an examination of today's "washington post" will reveal a full page of death
9:44 am
notices. there is not a single column dedicated to birth notices. in spite of the fact that donald trump wants one. [laughter] this is understandable since a life is generally more substantive between birth and death than it is between conception and birth. we entered this world with no compassion, no clothes, no teeth, no hair, and no job. so why would we be important at birth? make no mistake, the birth of jesus was a wonderous event. it was god stepping into human flesh, making known through teaching, testing and testimony, what god was like. we can't, we claim christ as our redeemer not because of his virgin birth but because
9:45 am
of his lordly life and sacrificial death, primarily the christian faith hicks on the death and what happened on calvary. we are not santa-saved. we are blood-saved. i agree with and you draw crouch, he sang, the blood will never lose its power. nothing could stop the cross. all the wars could not sniff it out. all the floods could not wash it out. all the ice storms could not freeze it out. all the volcanoes could not burn it out. all the hurricanes could not blow it out. all the dogs and demons of hell could not scare it out. i am so glad that christ carried a cross as was foretold by mica h700 years before jesus was born in
9:46 am
bethlehem of judea. jesus was born in bethlehem. therefore christians by the tens of thousands each year flock to see and celebrate to see the bethlehem birthplace. nevertheless christmas is preferred i think because a manger is much more palatable than a cross. to be sure, bethlehem does have worthwhile tourist sites such as the church of the nativity that have significance. it is for purposes of this message important to know that jesus spent very little time in bethlehem. although joseph was likely born in bethlehem, he scratched out a living and raised his family in nazareth.
9:47 am
jesus probably spent no more than three years in bethlehem. but bethlehem is the second-most celebrated city in israel, not the tasteless little town of nazareth. yes, jesus hailed from nazareth, a ghetto village, some 1200 feet above sea level where played with other jewish kids over wretchedly paved roads. yes, jesus hailed from nazareth where the family of joseph and mary raised him and his siblings in the welter of galilee poverty. as a country boy born in the unessential and unimpressive but ironclad segregated town of waksahatchee, texas. i often on receiving end of hick town jokes and
9:48 am
wisecracks. one of my college classmates used to say wax hatch chee was destitute that citizens were issued only one o to spell poor. [laughter] i can remember spending the night with a cousin who told me that we had to eat corn flakes with a fork to save the milk. and having progressed from a drafty shack in wakahatchee, to a packed public housing unit in wichita falls, texas, i must confess to you, that i am tickled brown that my savior spent all but three years of his earthly life in
9:49 am
nazareth. even though i spent six years in public housing, glory be to god that i did have housing but it was a rough neighborhood, so rough in fact that the kids were afraid to hang out christmas stockings for fear that santa might steel them. [laughter] i grew up poor. i grew up poor. located 75 miles north of bethlehem, nazareth is nestled in the hills of what is called the lower galilee. this town where christ spent his formative years was so historically insignificant that it is not mentioned one time in the old testament or the hebrew testament.
9:50 am
in fact, joseph, the noteworthy, josephus, the noteworthy hebrew historian, didn't see nazareth enough to even mention in his comprehensive history of israel. and again, nathaniel's crude remark, can anything good come out of nazareth must be remembered? it is how the an cents saw the galileeian city. wakahatchee at least hosting the filming of the highly aclaimed movie, "places in the heart". as history records, nothing hipped happened in nazareth. the beauty of god is he ordained his only bee gotten son to grow to adulthood in the culturally cryptic and economically lifeless village of nazareth. yes, yes i'm saying it publicly. jesus was poor but keep in
9:51 am
mind that a person is not poor just when they don't have anything but when they don't love anything. joseph and mary loved their children and raised them as parents should and they were not influential citizens in nazareth in spite of mary's extreme pregnancy, you will remember that when they went to bethlehem as the law required, joseph was unable to secure enclosed housing any place in bethlehem. he was impotent to pull strings to receive a room in an inn you see poor people don't even have or know where to acquire strings. most of them have not even seen strings. you see a person must be a string-holder to pull
9:52 am
strings. the string-holders don't really want the string pursuers anywhere around. in fact they respond best to other string-holders. a nazareth string-holder, if one existed, could have gotten a room from a bethlehem string-holder. a look at the ancient demographic of nazareth reveals there were few if any string-holders, other than caravans moving through the village enroute to the nearby seaport in capernium. money rarely found its way into nazareth. the little town was nothing more than a hilltop ghetto and our savior actually lived there. now he would have never permitted his son to be a native the nazareth. he wouldn't have stood by in
9:53 am
the first place and allowed his son to be born in a barn. a snotygard would have been plushness of a palace where car givers were. snooty god would not have been my god. on top of that i was born in the near the railroad tracks in texas. i'm so pleased to say i do not serve a snooty god. would a respectable in keeper go out of his way to a poor nas is a reason couple. it. you see many people believe that poverty is contagious. and they try to avoid contamination by keeping a respectful distance from those who are infected. including the federal government.
9:54 am
watch what this government does. look at its budget. friends, a budget is a declaration of who we are. it is a deck alation of what we -- declaration of what we believe. i tell the members of our church if they show me their checkbook i can tell them what they believe in. and if the budget of the united states extracts 62% of so-called deficit savings from programs aimed at helping the poor, then there is something wrong with our inners or some body has begun to smell. so people want to stay away from those who are poor for fear that they may become poor too.
9:55 am
our savior has always sought the sick, the sour, the sad and the segregated. all praise, glory and honor to god who even loves a pigeon-towed refugee from an unpainted wooden shack in wasahatchee. and he loves me from the backwoods of texas as much as he loves a proper socialite from the mansions of hollywood. i would be in trouble, if categorized those who he loved. john 3:16 which martin luther declares to be the gospel in miniature, says for god so loved the world that who so ever believes in him shall not perish but have every lasting life. who so ever. who so ever is black, white or brown. who so ever is tall, short
9:56 am
or round. who shofr is courageous and cowardly and is tough and who suffer is timid. and who sorry is well. who so ever lives in al pas la and who so ever lives in a pasture. who so ever can and who so ever can't. who so ever is up and who so ever is down. who so ever is pretty and who so ever is plain and who so ever is plain. who so ever is prosperous and or poor. i'm so happy i serve a who so ever good. we ought to tell our young men in our communities to pull up your pants above your knees. hour so ever. we ought to tell the woman raising her kids without any outside or inside help she is a who so ever. tell the man who made major moral mistakes that god still loves him because he is a who so ever. if you can't thank god for what you have, then thank him for what you miss. and what you miss means that god is still a who so ever
9:57 am
god. many of us would have been doomed if god who haved us on the basis of other education, pigmentation, articulation, derivation, affiliation or stock diverse if iization. he loves us simply because we are the divine creation. god so loved the world gave his only bee gotten son. love is the key word there. god so loved the world. when john baptized the jesus in the jordan the heavens opened and a voice from eternity said, this is my beloved son in whom i am well pleased. up to that point, the goss smell writers to -- gospel writers do not provide any information about the work of jesus. yet god declared that he loved him. we have no record, no
9:58 am
biblical record of him having done anything to that point. the only thing known that was jesus spent roughly 30 years in the out vogue village ever nazareth yet god was pleased. it should please us to know that we can please god no matter where we originate or with whom we amalgamate or how much we a accumulate. it may be important here that i assure you that i am not advocating poverty i know poverty. we have a first name relationship. to be sure poverty is not a sin but that is the best thing i can say about it. [laughter] i will never celebrate it. and i don't want to
9:59 am
rediscover it. i'm simply trying to tell you that if you're poor, jesus does not abandon you. in fact there are biblical accounts to suggest just the opposite. that if you're poor, then jesus is coming to you. while i don't believe that anyone needs to be poor i can tell you from my own experience what it's like to be poor. being poor is hoping that the toothache will go away on its own because you can't afford to pay the co-pay. being poor is living close to the freeway, the airport or the railway tracks. being poor is hearing your mother say during the sunday dinner that she has eaten too much because there is not enough dessert to go around. being poor is thinking that $10 an hour is as good as it gets. being poor is watching the surprise in people's face when they realize that your iq is above 100.
10:00 am
being poor is hardly ever buying anything that someone else hasn't bought first. being poor is encountering people who wonder why you choose to be poor. being poor is having people think they know something about you because of your address. being poor is getting turned down by the college of your dreams because your family doesn't have enough money to send you there. . .
10:01 am
>> poor people can raise children to become president of the united states. that's what poor people can do. [applause] people like to misquote the scriptures all the time. you know, people will tell me, pastor, i have to tell you, you know, reverend, john, the gospel writer, said lord helps those who help themselves, and, of course, you know, that's not in the gospels, but the good priests and christian people believe that, and so they really want to be scrip --
10:02 am
scriptturely sound. they say, money is the root of all evil. that's neither biblical or economically accurate. brokeness is the root of all evil. you show me people who are broke, i'm going to show you some evil. you want to reduce evil? reduce poverty. [applause] thank god and gloar to god to answer the ancient question can anything good come out of nazareth, the answer is yes, yes. that's good news. that's good news for somebody who grew up in public housing. that's good news for somebody who didn't grow up with a house
10:03 am
with a indoor toilet until he was 7. it is good news that jesus grew up in nazareth. perhaps the poorest village in all of israel, and that eight to be good news and applauded in every ghetto, in every jailhouse, in every low achieving school, in every welfare line, in every unemployment line, in every assembly line, in every bus stop line, in every church, every fore closed house, every run down house, in every gambling house, every poor house, and in every open house. the dying, the lame, the hunger, the weak, the mental, the uncared for, the sick are all representatives of jesus in disguise. those people who we ignore are
10:04 am
representatives of jesus christ, and when we see them, that ought to be a reminder of our job. somebody has to stand up for the poor. somebody has to say something when everyone else is remaining silent, and so the good news is that those of us from the church, more than any other group, must assume that responsibility. we need to tell people they can come to christ in rags and ruins, in tragedy, in trepidation, in hurt, in hunger; so, friends, we have to bring poverty back to the front burner of attention in this country so that is there is real discussion about the poor in ways to eliminate or reduce it. who will come to the aide of the poor?
10:05 am
who will stand up and tell the truth about the fact that the poor are getting poorer, and the rich are getter richer in this country? can the poor receive any attention? can they receive even as much attention as the wealthy? well, it depends on whose hands it's in. basketball in my hands is worth $19.99. a basketball in the hands of kevin durant is worth $44 million. it dependses on whose hands it's in. a baseball in my hand is worth $10. a baseball in the hands of ccsabathia is worth $35 million. a checkbook in the hands of oprah winfrey is worth about $1.8 billion. it's about whose hands it's in.
10:06 am
a person in my hands i hope the words make sense. it all depends on whose hands it's in. well, a fleeting shot in my hands is nothing more than a tort or the flinging shot in the hands of david. it depends on whose hands it's in. in my hands it's nothing more than this. bread crumbs in the hands of jesus is salvation that means he has enough to go around. it's fish and chips in the hands of jesus. it all depends on whose hands it's in, so it depends on us if we want to get in the hands of jesus and sitting in the has been of jesus, we put the poor
10:07 am
in, and the biggest of the country in our hands is terrible, all kinds of things can take place. that's why we have hope. all of us have hope. i got on a plane yesterday, and it touched down, and i went to sleep. i had no idea if the man flying the plan had a license, whether or not he knew the way to washington, d.c.. i didn't know if, and i could sleep, and if i can put my hands in the pilot of the plane, i can put my life in the pilot of a universe. if -- [inaudible] thank you. [applause] thank you, thank you, all. [applause]
10:08 am
[inaudible conversations] >> come on up here. what a way to get started this morning. the black caucus, preaching the gospel of jesus christ. i'm going to ask him to come back up and do numbers of congressional black caucuses. they'll be coming throughout the day. >> we have the vice chair of the u.s. virgin islands, dr. donna christianson. from oakland, california, and
10:09 am
the only person no matter what you heard otherwise to vote against going into iraq. [applause] of course, my dear friend, whom i love deeply, congresswoman from ohio. [applause] and -- and i'm missing someone. because of the schedule, we're going to move quickly. so let us -- there's no need for a long introduction of our next
10:10 am
presenter. ladies and gentlemen, the attorney general will be speaking later, and i will turn this back into the hands of someone who knows how to program, and it's now in his hands. >> as i said for the black caucus, he knows.
10:11 am
>> we would not know each other across denonnation mall lines because it's too easy to live in the box of our own local situation. bishop john hersh adams called us from the walls of our denomination and so that we could all sit and celebrate our unity in christ. it is my pleasure to present family matters who will present our keynote speaker. mr. john hersh adams. [applause] >> now, in deference to the
10:12 am
schedule, i know how to be brief. thank you, mr. president, for those kind words. thank you, reverend, for the sermon. i mean, congressman. [laughter] i do want to tell you that i was here for 14 years, and everything that came at you is true. mr. attorney general of the distinguished people here, congress people, clergy people, press people, and all other kind of people, if you do not know who eric holder is, it is too late for you to find out. distinguished servant of the
10:13 am
people, relentless pursuer of justice has served at all levels in this country to provide the opportunity for justice for all the people. he receivers now as the attorney general of the united states, the chief legal officer of this country, the honorable eric holder. [applause] >> good morning. it is a pleasure to be here. thank you so much, bishop, for that warm introduction. it is great listening to congressman cleaver, and i'm thinking to myself, why they do
10:14 am
this to me? [laughter] you know? he's a congressman and a pastor, and he brought it, didn't he? [applause] so, thank you, congressman. it's a privilege to join with you and with dr. richardson and dr. burton in opening this 2012 consultation, and i thank you for your kind words, leadership, and partnership, and, of course, for your prayers. i need the prayer. the president needs your prayers. please keep them coming. we also thank the members of the support of the national black churches and congressional black caucus for here today and your work in bringing us all together and bringing renewed attention for the need to protect or talk about the day of the voting rights of every eligible citizen. it's a pleasure to be a part of this discussion to be among so many friends, allies, and
10:15 am
dedicated leaders. i'm grateful, in particular, for the opportunity to include the important work that the people in this room are doing each day, who all across the country, enrich our communities and improve our lives. since it's official establishment in 2009, these efforts have reached more than 10 million people, and in partnership with the congressional black caucus, a group over the past 40 years, established itself as the conscious of congress. that is true. the conscious of congress. you emerged as a powerful force for positive change. together, your organizations are not only providing a voice to the most vulnerable among us; you are shining a light on the problems that we must solve and the promises we must fulfill in so many different ways in classrooms, in courtrooms, in houses of worship, in halls of justice, in your own homes and neighborhoods. you are working to protect the progress that's marked our nation's past and strengthen its
10:16 am
future. now, in your efforts to honor america's most noble and enduring cause for the opportunity and justice, all of you have done a great job. despite all you have done to advance the cause and the transformative progress many of us witnessed in our own lifetimes, as you know, this is no time to become complacent. yes, we have walked far on the long road towards freedom, but we have not yet reached the promise land, and in too many places, it's painfully clear our nation's long struggle to overcome justice, eliminate disperties, bridge long standing division, eradicate violence, and uphold the civil rightings of all citizens has not yet ended. that means it's time once again to ask dr. king's most famous and enduring question: where do we go from here? where do we go from here? it is time to consider where we should focus energies and where
10:17 am
we should place our priorities. for many of you, i argue that all the freedoms that we enjoy today, none is more important or more sacred than the right to vote. i'm hardly the first to make that discovery. in july of 1965 when president johnson signed the voting rights act into lea, "the right to vote is a basic right without which all others are meaningless." as attorney general, i have the privilege and duty of enforcing this right and others come from president johnson, dr. king, and other great leaders and activists and for this justice department -- this justice department, and for our government, law enforcement departments across this country, this is among our highest priorities, and it is evident in the progress made by this administration, especially when it comes to expanding access to
10:18 am
legal services, to combating hate crimes, community violence, human trafficking, and strengthening law enforcement efforts so that in the workplaces and military bases, in our housing, in our lending markets, in our schools and places of worship, in our immigrant communities and voting booths that all american rights are protected. this is on generations who have taken extraordinary risk, con frapted hay -- confronted hatred and bombs to ensure their children would have a chance to participate in the work of their government. without those people, there would be no eric holder or barack obama, and we must never forget that. our efforts reflect that the right to vote is not just the corner stone of the system of government, but is and always has been the life blood of democracy.
10:19 am
no force proved more powerful to the success of the great american experiment, an effort to expand the franchise. without the right to vote, there's no congressional black caucus. these people who lead our nation are the conscious of congress would not be here without the right to vote. despite this history and despite our nation's long tradition of extending voting rights, nonproperty owners into women, people of color, native americans, and to younger americans, today a growing number of our fellow citizens are worried about disperties and problems that five decades ago many fought to address. in my travels across the country, there's a drum beat of concerns from citizens, often for the first time in their lives, now have reason to believe we are failing to live up to one of our nation's most noble ideals, and the achievements in the civil rights
10:20 am
movement hang again in the balance. congressman john louis described the concerns best in a speech last summer in pointing out that voting rights throughout his life and gave his life to ensure, and i quote him, "are under attack in an attempt to prevent millions of elderly voters, young voters, student, and minority, and low income voters from exercising their constitutional right to engage in the democratic process," end quote. we know about the practices for years. he was more recent with frustrations in the statements of voting law changes that we've seen in in legislative season, in this year. let me assure you, for today's department of justice, our commitment is strengthening and fulfilling our nation's promise of equal opportunity and equal justice has never been stronger.
10:21 am
nowhere is it clearer of our efforts to prevent discrimination in our election systems. we are dedicated to aggressively enforcing the voting rights act and explain obligations under section 2 and 5 of this vital law. under section 2, prohibits racial discriminatory practices that amounts to vote denial or vote resolution. there's open investigations, more than 100 in the last fiscal year. we've also had past success without litigation in encouraging voluntary improvements and compliance. at the same time, section 5 requires preclearance of proposed voting changes in part for all 16 states where discrimination was deeply rooted continues to be a critical tool in protection of voting rights. under that provision, certain covered jurisdictions are prevented from altering voting practices until it can be
10:22 am
determined any proposedded changes would have a discriminatory purpose or effect. this process is known as preclearance. it's been a powerful tool to combating discrimination for decades. it has consistently enjoyed broad, bipartisan support, including in the most recent re-authorization when president bush and overwhelming congressional authority came together in 2006 to renew the key division and extend them until 2031. six years since its reauthorization, section 5 has been under attack but those who claim it's no longer needed. in 1965 from 2010, half a century, eight sections filed in court. by contrast, in two years alone, there's been no fewer than nine lawsuits in testing the constitutionality of that provision. four of these are currently in litigation, and each of these challenges in section five claims we have 5 new era, and an
10:23 am
era in 2012 moved beyond challenges of 18965 and that -- 1965 and that section 5 is no longer necessary. i wish this were the case, but the reality is that in jurisdictions across the country over and under forms of discrimination have not yet left the pages of history. voting rights act in section 5 has been upheld in court. in fact, several days ago, the dc circuit court of appeals projected one of the latest challenge of section 5, reaffirming its course of the civil rights law, undisclosing the fact it's prevalent in preventing discrimination and safeguarding voting for many americans are now at risk. as you know, they have worked to draw attention to the past two years that brought nearly two dozen state laws and executive
10:24 am
laws, more than a dozen states that make it significantly harder for many eligible voters to pass ballots in 2012. in response to the changes in areas covered by section 5, the justice department initiated careful, thorough, and independent reviews. we are now examining a number of redistricting plans in covered jurisdictions as well as other types of changes for election systems and processes, including changes to the procedures governing third party registration organizations, early voting procedures, and to vet for requirements to ensure there's no discriminatory purpose orffect. now, a state passes a new voting law that meets the burden that the law is not discriminatory to follow the law, and we will approve that change. we have demonstrated that repeatedly. if a jurisdiction fails to meet the requirement, that a voting change would not have a racially discriminatory effect, we will october as we have in -- objected as we have in 15
10:25 am
different cases. for example, in texas, the justice department proposed that the prepared redistricting plans for the state house and u.s. congress are infamous based on evidence based on the matches that were manipulated giving the appearance of minority control, but minimizing minority strength. this is precisely the type of discrimination section 5 was intended to block. this case has been trieded. we are now awading the court's decision. this is not the only concern in covered jurisdictions. the recent wave of changes in state level identification laws also presented a number of problems requiring the department's attention. in september, there was the voter id law after finding this is the data they sent to us, that the proposed change places an unfair burden on non-white voters.
10:26 am
this past march, the photo id requirement in texas would have a disproportioned impact on hispanic voters. the department is taking steps to protect voting rights of men and women fightings overseas, veterans at home, citizens abroad, citizens with dates, college students, and language minorities. a few days ago, there was filed a lawsuit against the state of california to remedy the state's failure to send absentee ballots on time to overseas citizens and mill story voters for the primary election. this is the eighth such lawsuit filed in two years to protect the voting rights of military voters and overseas voters. they recently filed two lawsuits to increase access to registration opportunities. one of those cases, we reached a settlement in rhode island that resulted in more voters being
10:27 am
registered in the first full month after the lawsuit than the entire previous two year period. in addition to these and other efforts, we are also working to uphold the integrity of the election system, and on this front, i want to be clear, no front has been or will be tolerated by this department, this administration. [applause] my experience as a trial attorney, i've. proud to stand on the front lines, and i understand the importance of investigating and prosecuting cases whenever and wherever they arise. i also note firsthand with so many studies and testimonies that have shown making voter registration easier is not more likely to make votes acceptable to fraud. they acknowledged in-person voting fraud in common, many
10:28 am
will continue to be taken seriously. as we continue to work to expand to protect the voting franchise, the congressional black caucus members a few month months ago introduced legislation that opposes any state election law that disproportionally effects communities. you have a critical responsibility to help identify and implement the most effective way to safeguard this of all americans rights. you have a voice to discussion of voting access, what the struggle for freedom has long been about ensuring, the opportunity for citizens to voice their opinions and through the casting of our ballots, signal their priority and to shape their own futures because the american people have worked and fought for such a system. now, with each of us, this fight
10:29 am
must go on. the progress here is in our hands, and the democracy that we hold sacred is our responsibility to carry forward. in driving these efforts, i'm privileged to count you all as partners, grateful for the leadership, commitment, and courage you show in keeping faith in the promise of this nation and for the power of what its people can achieve together. thank you very much. [applause] >> again, we'll thank the attorney general. let's give him more love. he's got himself a schedule. [applause] i will now call on the president of the conference of national black churches who runs the
10:30 am
day-to-day operations from atlanta of our headquarters and the activities who has presided over much of what you see going on here today and this week, jacqui burton. >> thank you, chairman richardson and certainly to congressman cleaver. i'm certainly happy to welcome you and to let you know how delighted we are that you are here with us today. i have those referring to the chairman as the president. no, he's the big one. i answer. i answer. i'm delighted to have been blessed to have this opportunity to serve in this position. i certainly would like to first acknowledge the members of the board of the directors of the conference of national black
10:31 am
churches, of our four national conventions from the african-american church, the cme church, the zion church, baptist, and the church of god and christ, would you please stand? thank you, thank you. [applause] they provide the leadership for this great organization. we are delighted to have had the opportunity to work with congressman cleaver and his staff, and in particular, stephanie young, also, like me, the daughter, the parsonage, the daughter of bishop mckinley young, a communications director for the black caucus, and she and i have worked together. stephanie, at least move over so they can see you. [applause] she's wonderful to work for and very first time and helped bring this -- efficient, and helped bring this together. thank you again, and we are delighted you are here and thankful for your presence. thank you very much.
10:32 am
[applause] >> i want to encourage you at this time to join us for launch at twelve o'clock following this session. you are welcome to join us, but in order to join us, you have to be registered, and the registration is not costly at all. go through the desk, and it includes lunch. the registration includes lunch. go by the desk and register at your convenience before twelve o'clock so there's not a line. if you slip out and register, come back, it'll be fine. i also want to encourage you to join us tonight in what is going to be a huge gathering of our cross denominations service where there will be persons from all of our denonnominations -- denominations, a hundred voice choir, made up of all the
10:33 am
denonnations, a passenger from paul brown from the cme church, as well as other activities, a great coming together of all the churches of denominations tonight at 6:30 in the metropoll tan ame church here in the city. it's a great gathering. please be with us and stay with us throughout the day and a half. you are invited to be with us tomorrow morning when we'll have a piece on economic justice and economic empowerment where there's a whole discussion about the state of the economic -- okay -- so we'll be doing that tomorrow morning, and then tomorrow at lunch, the secretary of education, arne duncan is peeking about education.
10:34 am
following that luncheon, there's a health, and at 2:30, we'll have a big conversation on same-sex marriage and the churches' conversation about that. exciting panel has been put together including john hust adams, dr. oprah hep rights -- henry, and hill lair, former naacp will be panelists. it will be open for discussion. we know that's going to be an exciting conversation because when the board was disused in the board meeting yesterday, we couldn't get off of it. we got stuck. we had to try to get moving. we want you to be here. we have some challenges this week that we're overcoming, things we cannot control. we lost last week's bishop
10:35 am
brookens of the ame church in los angeles. one time bishop here in dc. he passed as his funeral is on friday morning, so many of the ames have to leave to go to california for that so they will -- that's interrupted the rhythm. there are a couple other situations, but we have to plod on through this in the face of the challenges. what we're doing is important work, and it needs all of us to make it the best work, and so i ask for you to make yourself available for as much as you can. friday morning, we close out, reverend will bring the manner, and then we have a brief session and plan to close before 12 on friday morning. we'll also have breakfast friday morning as part of registration, and the registration includes lunch today and tomorrow for
10:36 am
$75. you can get lunch, that's the little contribution. it's the whole activity so please join us in these things. we are going to -- give you a break. we'll reassemble at eleven o'clock. the other congressman will be joining us, and please do not go away. please stay with us. we need your presence. as i said to you, this conference is being mirrored across the country through c-span, msnbc and other outlets. we have to be sure we present the right face on the african-american church community, so please join us. you may take a break, register, but, please, be back in here ready to go at eleven o'clock. thank you. [inaudible conversations]
10:37 am
[inaudible conversations] so a short break. in about 20 minutes or so on voting rights cohosted by the congressional black caucus and national black churches. at 11 a.m.. we'll have remarks from charles rangel and georgia congressman among others. comments continue throughout the
10:38 am
day with votes rights in the u.s., a tax exempt status, and initiative for protection. that's coming up on c-span2. a major upset from "the associated press,"ñi sylvester reyes lost his seat, losing narrowly to el paso councilman. congress mapp reyes was first elected in 1996. five democrats were running for that nomination. other programming coming up today, at 11:45 eastern, live coverage on discussion of governing the interpret, efforts to have the internet control begin to the u.p.. you can -- u.n., you can see that live on c-span3. with senate on break this week, we are futuring booktv's weekend programs here in prime time. tonight, national and world economies beginning at eight
10:39 am
eastern. the economic divide in america, the rich and the rest of us, poverty manifesto. at 9:20, grover norquist sheds opinions on the current administration's performance and how to fix it. at 10:25, james gallbraht on instability. all this week on c-span2. leon panetta delivered this commencement address in annapolis. the greatest challenges they face in serving the nation is america's stance in the asia pacific adding the united states' future and prosperity is tied to the ability to obtain peace and security in the region. he handed out degrees and commissioned more than a thousand graduates last tuesday. >> above all, class 2012.
10:40 am
it is, for me, a very distinct honor and privilege to take part in this very special occasion as secretary of defense. let me first and foremost express my best congratulations to all of you in the class of 2012, you made it. [cheers and applause] and i'm sure that right about now your families are all saying, "thank god you made it." it's a real privilege for me to be welcomed here on navy turf as a former army officer, although, i have to tell you that one of our three sons is the former navy officer who served in afghanistan. i try as secretary to be a loyal
10:41 am
supporter of each of our great outstanding services, even when i had the opportunity to attend the army navy game, my allegiance was to both teams. i sat on each side of the stadium. i have to tell you that i'm getting a little tired, you're probably not, but i am, of the west point cheer, "maybe next year, maybe next year, maybe next year." [applause] today's ceremony is your last military duty of the academic year after which most of you will go home, start summer training, and, of course, as you all know, a few of you can't
10:42 am
leave the yard because you crossed the conduct system and are being held in commune cay -- communicado, however, i'm told by tradition, i can set you free, well, as an italian-american, i do things in the italian style which means obviously i treat the navy as family, and i don't like anybody to mess with family. it also means that i can make you an offer you can't refuse. [laughter] so in exchange for freeing your classmates on restriction, i got an offer. i want the entire brigade to lead the class of 2012 and their
10:43 am
families in one big cheer, and i need to hear from everyone or it doesn't count, so let's hear a big "go navy" on my count, and remember, this is the difference between salvation or purgatory. on three, one, two, three! go navy! well done. [applause] admiral miller, i exercise my authority as secretary of defense to grant amnesty to all men on restriction or minor conduct offenses. [laughter] as a catholic, i'm tempted to order you to do three hail
10:44 am
marys. [laughter] with that out of the way, let me first and foremost offer my deepest thanks. thank you to the class of 2012 and to all mid shipment for your decision to serve this nation at a time of war. you have set yourselves apart in a profound, and in an honorable way. thank you also for all of those in uniform, including the officers, senior enlisted leaders, and instructors for your dedication and loyalty to our country. finally, thank you to the families, sponsor families, the
10:45 am
add min straiters, the professor -- administrators, professors, and the friends. here today. this is every bit your day to celebrate along with this extraordinary class of 2012. class of ' 12, over the past four years, you have passed the test of character, you chose to give up the life of a normal college student and endured the demands of navy life rising before dawn, putting on the uniform of our country, standing watch, marching in formation. the highs and lows of your life here have changed you in ways that you may not fully understand for years or even decades to come.
10:46 am
your experience through defining moments together as a class celebrates, and a few of you pulled off a daring mission, building an unmanned vehicle flying over the superintendent's house at night and using it to place a hat on top of the chapel dome. [cheers and applause] could have used you at the cia. [laughter] two years later, along with wite rest of the country, you paid tribute to your navy brethren who pulled off that great daring mission ridding the world of osama bin laden.
10:47 am
[applause] having had the honor to work on that mission as directer of the cia, i'll never forget that moment coming out of the white house after the president's announcement and hearing the cheers coming from the crowds that had spontaneously gathered outside the white house. "usa, usa. and i know i heard "cia, cia" as well. you are men and women from every state in the union, from 12 foreign nations, rich and poor, secular and religious, black, white, latino, native american, asian, straight and gay. diversity of this class is a tribute to the life and service of retired lieutenant commander
10:48 am
wesley brown, class of '49, first african-american graduate of the naval academy. [applause] wesley passed away last week at the age of 85, and today we honor his ground breaking legacy. while your class progressed from the first honor of induction day up to this moment, the world has undergone its own transformation naval academy graduates have had a lot to do with that transformation. retired admiral mike mullen, class of of '68 fought a stratey
10:49 am
in two wars to be ready for future challenges. prior to admiral, erik bolton, class of ' 73 led special efforts to go after al-qaeda. general john allen, class of 1976 led in afghanistan with outstanding leadership. admiral sam lockhear, class of 1977 commands u.s.-pacific command and spearheaded nato's effort, a campaign that led to the fall of the nazis. the list goes on. the chief of naval operations, john and a number of other naval academy alumni who are influencing events around the entire globe. throughout my time in government, i've relied on a vision and the advice of the
10:50 am
navy and marine corp. officers. as president clip -- president clinton's chief of staff, director of cia, and now director of defense, because of their efforts and sacrifices as brave men and women across our services, today the united states stands at a strategic turning point after a decade of war. our combat forces have come home from iraq. nato just approved a plan last week in chicago, a plan by general allen to fully transition the lead for security to afghan forces by the end of 2014. we have successfully gone from the leadership of -- after the leadership of al-qaeda to send a
10:51 am
very clear message that no one, no one attacks the united states and gets away with it. [applause] and we successfully fought with our nato allies to give libya back to the libyan people, and yet -- and yet, we still face significant challenges and risk. we continue to face the threat of violence extremism, those who continue to threaten attacks on our homeland. we're still at war. we confront the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, destabilizing behavior of iran and north korea, military modernization across the asia pacific, turmoil in the middle
10:52 am
east, pie piracy on the high se, and increasing and creative attacks, cyber attacks here in our country and elsewhere. all of this, all of this coming at a time of increasing budget challenges here at home. our nation now looks to you. the next generation of military leaders to confront the challenges i just outlined, to protect our nation, and to ensure that america always has the strongest military force in the world. that is the way it's always been. that's the way it will always be. across the generation, navy and marine corp. have led our nation
10:53 am
and military into the future. it's up to your generation to ensure that our fleet remains unrivaled by any other nation on earth. that's why you came here. for the challenge of leading others at sea, deploying to every part of a world, taking risks in the skies, fighting fee -- ferociously and giving our enemies hell wherever you find them. after you leave here, the challenge that i just outlined is exactly what you get, and it won't be easy. you'll need every quality that got you through the last four years. love of country, desire to learn, the will to work hard,
10:54 am
the will to sacrifice, the judgment to make good decisions, and the drive to overcome any odds. no one can tell you what challenges you will face in the future, but one thing is for sure. you must be prepared to respond to whatever task we confront in the future with courage, with creativity, and with leadership. adapting to new challenges is what the nature service does best. this is not a time for playing it safe. it's a time for imagination, a time for initiatives, time for putting new ideas into action. that has always been at the heart of the naval service. the dawn of the republic,
10:55 am
commodore edward urged the generation of young officers to take the navy in a new direction during the war of 1812. his voice improvised the construction of a flotilla that defeated the british on lake eerie and helped save the nation from domination. the young officers embraced the revolutionary technology of all iron ships, blockaded the rebel states, and doomed the rebellion. there were famous words from one of history's findist expression -- finest expressions of initiative, and they are built into your very bones. admiral miller tells me you can finish this one. let me hear it from all of you
10:56 am
loud and clear. that initiative is what carried us through the generation. teddy roosevelt sent a great fleet around the world. the admirals at that time didn't want to bring along the brand new destroyers. that didn't sit well with a group of very young lieutenants, and so the enterprising junior offers found roosevelt aboard the presidential yacht and asked him to overrule the admirals. roosevelt did. proving junior officers can have the best ideas. you just have to have the guts to prove it. down through time, our nation has needed military leaders with that kind of vision. they screenedded formations to push the japanese across back
10:57 am
the pacific. nuclear power from ships and submarines and computer genius and anticipated a network fleet. the future is no different, and that's why we developed a new defense strategy adapting to the budget requirements that we face, but more importantly to ensure that our military can meet the challenges of the 21st century. our military force for the future must be agile, it must be flexible, deployable, and technologically advanced. we will strengthen key alliances and partnerships around the world. we'll ensure our military can confront aggression and defeat any opponent any time anywhere,
10:58 am
and we will protect investments in new capability from cyber to unmanned systems to space to special operation forces. the navy and marine corp. are fundamental to every element of that strategy. america is the maritime nation, and we are returning to our maritime roots. one of the key projects that your generation will have to face is sustaining and enhancing american strength across the great maritime region of the pacific. america's future prosperity and security are tied to the ability to advance peace and security along the arc extending from the western pacific and east asia into the indian ocean and south asia. that reality is up escapable --
10:59 am
inescapable for our country and our military which is already begun broadening and deepening our engagement throughout the asia pacific. one of your great challenges as an officer in the navy will be to ensure the peace and prosperity of the asia pacific region for the 21st century. we need you to project america's power and to reflect america's character to serve on ships and submarines, to fly planes, and to train and operate throughout that region. we need you to do the important work of strengthening and modernizing our historic alliances with japan, with korea, with australia, with the philippines, with thailand. ..
11:00 am
11:01 am
that's what service is all about. as second quarter tear of defense i could not be more proud of all of you for choosing to serve this great country. as mentioned i'm the son of italian immigrants and as a
11:02 am
young boy i once asked my dad why did you travel all that distance coming to a strange country, no language ability, no money, no skills, why would you do that? my father said that he did it because he and my mother believed they could give their children a better life in america. that is the american dream. it's the dream that we all want for our children, to have a better life, and it's that dream that depends on people like you who are willing to serve and to fight for america. a u.s. navy ship captain once wrote that he could think of no greater prize for anyone than appointment to the naval academy for as you put it, there may be more money elsewhere but there is no more honor
11:03 am
anywhere. indeed, there is no more honor anywhere than right here and as you leave here, carry that honor with you, defend it, fight for it and yes, if necessary, die for it. the honor is yours, now earn it. congratulations to all of you. god bless you, god bless the navy, the marine corps and fairwinds to the class of 2012. thank you. [applause]
11:04 am
>> defense secretary leon panetta at the u.s. naval academy. by the way if you missed any of his remarks or those of other commencement speakers that we featured go to the c-span video library to see them. we're back live now for a day-long conference on voting rights, co-hosted by the congressional black caucus and the conference of national black churches. up next we expect remarks from congressman charles wrangle of new york and congressman john lewis from georgia among others on the state of voting rights in the u.s.
11:05 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
11:06 am
[inaudible conversations]
11:07 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
11:08 am
[inaudible conversations] [inaudible conversations]
11:09 am
[inaudible conversations] >> we're going to go ahead and start this panel if everyone would go ahead and take a seat and i will give you a moment to do that.
11:10 am
well, good morning again. my name is cedric richmond. i'm a congressman from the second district of louisiana which includes the great city of new orleans. i know many of you all thought that you would see charlie rangel right now. but as you see i'm a little bit younger and just a little bit thinner than the great charlie rangel. so i will do my best to, to represent him well. for me this is such an appropriate conversation to an appropriate group of people at the right time and i say that as a beneficiary of the, work that you all did years and years and years ago. but for you we wouldn't have the right to vote.
11:11 am
but for our churches, i would not have had the opportunity to go to integrated schools and some of the best schools in the country. but for you who marched and sacrificed so much i certainly wouldn't have had a chance to be elected to the louisiana house of representatives and to the united states congress. so for that i say, thank you. i recognize that i stand on your shoulders. and with that comes an obligation to make sure that we protect those rights for the next generation and it is an honor and very humbling to now work side by side with many of you and many of my colleagues in the congressional black caucus that i grew up reading about and i'd -- idolizing so much and standing on the house floor to protect our communities is such an honor. we all know in this room how important the right to vote is.
11:12 am
it's your voice in government. but more importantly it is what validates you as being an american citizen and that you have equal rights as everyone else. so when the right to vote is threatened it should alarm all of us. and our distinguished panel guests today will talk about the implications of it, the new laws and the attorney general did that but when we talk about the voter i.d. laws and we talk about the new hurdles and obstacles to cast your right to vote those things are very, very alarming and the truth of the matter as we see them pop up it is a solution in search of a problem. even in louisiana and those southern states you will not see rampant voter fraud or any of those things.
11:13 am
so to come back with such an overkill, something that could jeopardize so many people's right to vote, it's something that we have to pay attention to. so we've come very, very far and we've done that primarily because of relationships with our clergy and with our elected officials and right now we're at a unique moment in time because we have the ability through one person or two people to galvanize and to get messages out to protect the community and inform the community but that won't always be the case. and we at the cbc recognize that this partnership and this relationship has endured a long time and we need to improve it going forth because in years to come we're going to have to make sure that we can fight and take up for everyone. i will just leave you with this because as elected
11:14 am
officials we get the calls in our office every day, whether it is social security, medicare, voting rights, people just can't make ends meet. but you get those calls every day too and you get those calls all night and you don't have the staffs that we have. so we want you to know that we certainly appreciate what you do for our constituents, your role in the community is the exact same as ours. we help people and we fight for those who normally won't have equal say sew in what's going on. so thank you for coming. we will start with, and i will introduce representative g. k. butterfield, who is the vice-chair of the congressional black caucus who will moderate the program. i say thank you for what you do and our prayers are weather yours and we appreciate your prayers also
11:15 am
[applause] >> thank you very much, congressman richmond. thank you for all the work you do not only for the congressional black caucus but what you do for the entire congress. let me recognize my colleagues in the audience today. i'm sure others will be recognizing them along the way. but i can not stand without recognizing the illustrious congresswoman from florida, corrine brown. [applause] and the distinguished member from the state of california, barbara lee. thank you very much for coming. [applause] as cedric mentioned i'm congressman, g. k. butterfield. some of you may know me. many may not know me. i represent eastern part of north carolina. 24 counties east of raleigh, north carolina. have been in congress for eight years. serve on energy commerce committee. serve as chief deputy whip of the democratic caucus and vice-chair of the congressional black caucus. we're very busy here in washington. i want to thank you very
11:16 am
much for coming today to have this important conversation with us. i bring greetings to you from my home church, the jackson chapel first missionary baptist church of wilson, north carolina. always like to do that very briefly whenever i speak to church affiliated organizations but i'm told today that i am standing in for the illustrious john lewis. how in the world do you stand in the shoes of john lewis? sort of remind me when king was assassinated and ralph david abernathy who ascended to the chairman of sclc. he said how in the world do you stand in the shoes of dr. king. that's where i find myself today. but we're here today today to talk about voting rights. voting rights is a conversation that we must have. it's critically, critically important. and for us to understand the full dimension of voting rights you can not address the subject in a
11:17 am
contemporary context. you have to go back to the end of slavery to 1865, when slavery came to an end there were four million african-americans in the south. they had no right to vote. they had no education. they had no assets. they had absolutely nothing but faith in god and faith in each other and faith in community and starting in 1865 the former slaves began to build their communities. the first thing they did with the help of whites from the north was to build churches in the south and many of our churches and i represent a rural district in north carolina. many of our churches were found the in 1865 and 66. my church was 1872. the first thing they did was to build churches. the next thing they did was build schools. many of the schools were attached to the church. but the third thing they did was to get involved in the electoral process within the community.
11:18 am
in 187034 words were added to the united states constitution comprising of the 15th amendment. and those words were very plain and very simple. the right of citizens of the united states to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the united states or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude. and based on that amendment, african-americans began to get involved, and i want you to know, that 20 african-americans were elected to congress during reconstruction. eight were from south carolina, four from north carolina and other states all across the south but all of that came to an end in 1900 when, when disfranchise amendments were added to state constitutions. in my state, for example, an amendment was added that required would-be voters to be able to read and it write. to the satisfaction of the
11:19 am
registrar. it was called the literacy test. the literacy test came in 1900. not only that but a poll tax was implemented requiring would-be voters to pay a poll tax. starting in 1900 the last black congressman from the south, george white, who was from the district i now represent, all of the black congressman were unable to get reelected because all the african-american voters had been taken off the voter rolls. starting in 1900 there was effectively no participation whatsoever in the electoral process. but finally after the 1964 civil rights bill passed, dr. king was given the nobel peace prize in oslo, norway. when he came back to this country he was summoned to the white house by then president lyndon baines johnson. he was thanked for his work on civil rights and while at the white house, dr. king looked lyndon johnson squarely in the eye and say,
11:20 am
president johnson, now is the time sir, for a voting rights act. president johnson said no, don't take me there today. you know i just used all of my capital and all my resources and all my good goodwill trying to persuade the congress to pass a civil rights act. we have got to wait on voting rights act. dr. king said, mr. president, i'm very dis.ed with you, you know the 15th amendment that was added to the constitution in 1870 has really no meaning to african-americans today. we need a voting rights act. that is when selma to montgomery took place and all of the violence you know so much on the edmund fetter bridge that i'm sure john lewis would have talked about today. that is when the selma to montgomery voting rights movement began in earnest. finally in 1965 president johnson called a nationwide press conference to announce he was changing his
11:21 am
position. he would support a strong voting rights act. he did that he did that at the peril of a second presidency. he did that at the peril of losing the democratic influence in the south among white voters but he did it because it was the right thing. now we have a voting rights act. when i was in law school 35 years ago, 40 years ago i suppose, there were no african-american elected officials in my great state. today we have some eight or 900 black elected officials, 300 in my congressional district alone. so the voting rights act has made a difference. [applause] but now all of this progress that we've made is under assault. there is a right-wing conspiracy that is alive and well in this country that is trying to take us back to 1900 and even before. they are coming in very discrete ways.
11:22 am
the citizens united case for example, that now allows corporations to give unlimited amounts of money, anonymous unlimited amounts of money in support or opposition to political candidates and it's working. there are other devices that play and our panelists will talk with you about that and to alert you and to inform you and to empower you to go back to your communities and to be vocal on this subject and to make a difference because trust us, when the congressional black caucus tells you that a voter i.d. law will be detrimental to black empowerment, black political empowerment we know what we're talking about and it is for real. what they want to do is not take away the right to vote but if, if black voter participation can be diminished, even by 10%, it will make that critical difference all across the country. president obama won my state in the last election by
11:23 am
14,000 votes. had we had a voter i.d. law in north carolina he would not have won the state of north carolina and probably could not have won the presidency. so we want to thank you for coming. we have some wonderful panelists here today and we thank them for their willingness to come and instead of reading their bios and that is something i try to avoid if all possible, they can give you some summary about where they sit and what they do but deborah vagins, senior legislative counsel for aclu. nicole austin-hillery, counsel for the brennan center, washington, d.c. office. marcia judith, let me get this straight, marsha judith-blanco. director of the lawyers committee. i'm close. i'm from the south. give me a break. how many are from the south in here? all right. there we go. i'm in good company.
11:24 am
seriously, marsha is from the lawyers committee, voting rights project. the next panelist is judith brown. and finally a new addition to our program a distinguished leader in voting rights, a lady that i have known for at least 35 years who really made a difference in her work, barbara onwine, lawyers committee for civil rights under law. thank you, ladies for coming today. >> thank you. >> this is where i need some help. before i do that let me recognize my good friend, sanford bishop. sanford, please wave to the crowd. congressman bishop from the state of georgia. have y'all worked out how you want to go? >> we have. >> it is all yours. >> thank you, congressman. since we all live and work in congress we know how to
11:25 am
shuffle and changes things around a little bit. once i got married i became austin-hillery, nobody knew what my name was. so it is quite all right. we understand. thank you very much for gathering here today and for inviting us to come and talk to you a little bit about the work that we all do and our efforts to really protect our democracy. all of us who sit before you today work with organizations, major organizations that really work to protect a core principle of our democracy which is voting rights here in this country. we want to talk to you about number one, make sure you have a good understanding exactly what has been happening over the past year in terms of state laws that have been passed, litigation that's occurring and really the assault that is underway, that is threatening every american's right to vote. not just black americans, white americans, latino americans, every american's right to vote is being
11:26 am
threatened because when you challenge that right, you are challenging that right for everyone and that is something that we wall need to be concerned about. the brennan center for justice is the organization that i represent. i serve as the director and counsel of the washington office for the brennan center. we are a nonprofit, legal advocacy think-tank organization and we really take a three-pronged approach to issues we work on. we litigate. we produce scholarly work and we do advocacy work here in washington, d.c. those are really the ways which we think we can be most effective in trying to defend our democracy and to protect our democracy. we work on issues as vast as voting rights, criminal justice, racial justice. we look at the judicial, the courts and protecting the courts. but what i'm here to talk to you about today is the work that we do with respect to voting rights. if you haven't seen this, and i didn't have 250 copies which i, i heard you all
11:27 am
were here strong and that we needed a lot of copies. i brought my only one but i will tell you how you can get it. this report is called voting law changes in 2012 and this is a report that the brennan center for justice drafted and introduced in the fall of 202011. we put this report together for one reason. that is because we wanted folks like you to have a one-stop resource where you could go to find out what in the world has been going on across the country in terms of these voting law changes. we know we had been hearing on the news that one state was passing a law dealing with voter i.d., requiring people to come to polls with voter i.d. we heard that another state was passing a law that says, you know what? that sunday voting that you do, the sunday before the election, we're going to do away with that. it was all coming at us so quickly. and what we said was, we need a tool that will enable
11:28 am
individuals to have a good understanding of what in the heck is going on in the country. because we all know that knowledge is power and in order for you to even understand how to help your, your parishioners, your community members, you have to have a good understanding of what is going on in the country and that's what this report does. but here's the frightening thing. we produced this report in october of 2011. it is already outdated. it is outdated because the efforts that are underway to change these laws are "fast and furious." they continue throughout all of the state legislative periods across the country. so what i'm going to do is tell you a little bit, i'm going to give you the numbers. i know the numbers are boring. when i was in college i remember i used to tell my statistics professor, i don't need these numbers and lo and behold he laughed at me now because clearly what i do now is deal with numbers because that
11:29 am
information again is power. i'm going to give you a brief overview exactly what the country looks like now in terms of the laws that have been passed. how many people are actually affected. who are the groups of people that are mostly affected. then my wonderful colleagues who are here with me today will talk to you a little bit more what is going on the ground in terms of community advocacy. in terms of the litigation and in terms of what you need to do in order to arm yourselves and your parishioners to be able to be prepared for the impact of these changes. we estimate in our brennan center report up to five million voters will be impacted by these changes in laws across the country. up to five million voters. i know what you've been hearing about mostly in the news this concept of voter i.d. but you need to understand this is not just about voter i.d. there are a panoply of changes that have taken place that you need to understand. but first let's start out with the voter i.d. since
11:30 am
that's what we're most familiar with. at least 34 states introduced legislation that would require voters to show photo identification in order to vote. additional four states introduced legislation requesting that voters show voter identification to actually register or to vote. what this means is, when you show up to register to vote, previously you didn't have to have a photo i.d. now these states are saying you have to have this photo i.d. some of the states are saying on the date you show up at the polls you have to have that photo i.d. a lot of people say, what's the big deal? we all have i.d.'s. well, you know what, my 80-year-old great-aunt does not have a photo i.d. anymore but she still wants to vote. proof of citizenship laws is another way that these laws have taken effect. at least 15 states have
11:31 am
introduced legislation that would require proof of citizenship, meaning you have to show your birth certificate, or some other form of i.d. that shows that you are a united states citizen in order to register to vote. these proof of citizenship laws have passed in many states including alabama, kansas, and tennessee. and here's something you need to understand when we talk about what's changed. previously, prior to 2011, only two states had passed proof of citizenship laws, only two and now we have numerous states that have passed these laws. at least 16 states have introduced bills to make registering to vote more difficult and they have done this by doing things like, eliminating same-day voter registration. they have limited voter registration mobilization efforts, so organizations that normally have been on ground to register voters are now being limited in some states. some to the point where they have said, we're going to close down shops.
11:32 am
we are so fearful of these new laws and understanding them and insuring that we are not running afoul of them, instead of remaining in place in your states and insuring we're registering voters we're just going to leave. imagine the impact of that. because statistics show that many people, particularly minorities, use those third party voter registration options. they register to vote when the naacp sets up voter registration tables. they register to vote when the league of women voters set up registration tables. when those organizations are pulling out, that means those communities depended on them to do voter registration are being gravely impacted. several of these states have even reduced early and absentee days. this means at least nine states introduced bills to reduce their early voting periods. and we know from 2008 that many, many voters took advantage of early voting so that they didn't have to stand in line on tuesday. we know that some people
11:33 am
can't get off work. some people can't afford to stand in line for five and six hours. so these early voting days help those individuals. florida, georgia, ohio, tennessee, and west virgina were states that succeeded in enacting bills that reduced early voting. then there are some states finally that have made it even harder to restore your voting rights. my colleague from the aclu will talk to you a little more about that. what this means is this. individuals who were formerly incarcerated whom you would think once they paid their debt to society will get their voting right restored because their right to pay taxes has been restored. their right to do all these other things to obey the law has been restored. but unbeknownst to many their right to vote in many instances has not been restored. and even in states where they had previously been ahead of the game, states where they have said we recognize that when an individual has paid their debt to society, their right
11:34 am
to vote should be restored, two of those states, florida and iowa, rolled back their laws and they have now said, i know we gave you that opportunity but now under their new governorship they changed that. my colleague deb vagins will talk more about that. what do all the numbers mean? i asked my professors what do these numbers mean? here is what they mean. that means in 60 to 75%, with respect to 60 to 75% of all the electoral votes that it will take to elect the next president, those are the majority of states where these new laws have passed, the states that make up 60 to 75% of the electoral votes that will be required to elect our next president. 11% of all americans lack photo i.d. a lot of people again say, who doesn't have i.d.? but 11% of us don't have it. 18% of americans over the age of 65 lack veto i.d. 25%
11:35 am
of african-americans lack photo i.d. at least 7% of americans lack proof of citizenship. i know i don't carry my birth certificate around. i don't know how many of you have your birth certificates here with you but i don't have a document in my purse that says i'm a united states citizen. then with respect to women, 34% of women lack proof of citizenship with their current legal name. and my colleague, judith brown said this before. we have that problem. she is judith brown dian system. my husband is alexander hillery. i'm austin-hill rememberry. they screwed us up. we screwed ourselves however you want to look at it. as you might imagine. all the men are of laing. that is another discussion. that is a discussion for another day. [laughing] but the bottom line is it is now become more difficult
11:36 am
for us because there are people who call me hellerry. i say my first name is nicole. they don't get the austin. it is all confused. judith and i are lawyers. we are lawyers who are knowledgeable about voting rights and voting issues. imagine the 34% of those women who don't have this knowledge and this information. and when you talk about the voters who are no longer now going to be able to vote on sunday, i'm looking at you all because we all know many of the people that you represent are the individuals who will be impacted by those changes. now let me quickly get on to tell you about what can be done, what kinds of things you can do. there are legal challenges that are going on across the country and my colleagues are going to talk to you about some of these legal challenges. the brennan center is involved in some of them. there is a case in south carolina. there's a case in texas. we are representing, alongwith some of my colleagues here the league
11:37 am
of women voters in florida because florida is one of those states that has really passed some laws that have made it very, very difficult for organizations again, like the league women voters, to handle their voter registration. the league of women voters is one of those groups that said with respect to the state of florida you made it so hard for us, we're so concerned about this new law, we are pulling out. the league of women voters is not registering people to vote in the state of florida right now pending this litigation. those are things you need to be concerned about. students are people that are being heavily impacted by these new laws. there are some states that have said, you know, if you come from a different state and you're not from my state, your student i.d. is not good enough for us to accept in order to allow you to register to vote and then vote in this state. we need to be concerned about this. so we're talking about the elderly. we're talking about students. we're talking about minorities. black and brown people. and we're talking about women of all colors, again,
11:38 am
who have these funny names or who for some reason changed their names and don't have this i.d. this is what we need to be concerned about. and these battles again are continuing. as i said the information on our brennan center report is outdated. because things are happening consistently. you need to understand that there are legislators around this country who, unlike all of us in this room, are not necessarily as concerned about protecting democracy because i'm going to tell you, all of us who are here on the dais today, our organizations are all nonpartisan organizations. we don't care if you're blue, black, purple, yellow, or red. what we are concerned about is all americans have their right to vote protected. that is the message. so don't allow folks to try to pigeonhole this and turn this into a black issue. this is an american issue. this is a democracy issue. [applause]
11:39 am
so i'm going to sit down now because i've given you the numbers and my colleagues are going to give you more information about what you can do. here's one thing i will leave you with. we have left a one-page information sheet out on the table and if you don't see it out there, as we're mingling afterwards, grab me, i will give you the information. i will give you my card. we put together an information sheet for you of all the different places on the brennan center website where you can go and you can connect to links that will give you our report. this is a big nice red compendium. it will give you this report. it will give you a report we did on the truth about voter fraud. as the congressman said earlier. some people are saying this is about voter fraud. we did a report says voter fraud is diminimus issue in this country. it is not a real issue. this argument is about voter fraud is really a solution in search of a problem. we also give you links to tell you how you can get the most updated information
11:40 am
about these changes across the states because again, we want you to be armed with knowledge. maybe we should turn this into a little card you can stick into your wallet but that is what are this is. so i'm going to leave you with that. keep up on this information. this is information you can share with your parishioners and other community members. again we want you to know what is going on and we will do our best to continually keep you updated because again this is about protecting our democracy and our right to vote. that is part of our history in this country. what we have been about as a congressman said, since 1865 has been opening the doors to voting, not closing them. so we want to work with you to insure that no more doors are closed. thank you. [applause] the website is www.brennan, that is b, r, e, n, n, a, n,
11:41 am
n, center,.org. it is but we have these materials. and i will be around and i have cards and my policy associate, molly, everything i said that was wonderful, she is responsible for it, anything i said that wasn't, don't blame her. we will be here and can give you more information. thank you. >> thank you, nicole. thank you, mr. butterfield. thank you, mr. richmond. oil deborah vagins with the aclu in washington, d.c. and i work for congress and white house and agencies trying to promote voting rights but i also represent the larger organization that also works on voting rights from three angles. we pursue lit gaegs in state and federal courts. we lobby at the federal and state level. and we also engage in public
11:42 am
education in a variety of communitis. and i quickly want to touch on the trend that you heard about so far which is this new wave on the of attacks on the right to vote and in particular i want to talk about the criminal disfranchisement laws and a little bit about what the aclu is doing to combat these laws and our work with the faith community and how you could get involved. so, as you have heard there has been a variety of different forms of attacks. we heard about voter i.d. and citizenship requirements and limitations on early voting. these tactics are all different but the impact is the same. and the impact and intent is to exclude certain groups from the electorate, the bottom line. so all of these laws place disproportionate burdens on african-americans, elderly, people with disabilities, students, low income and language minority voters and it is not a coincidence.
11:43 am
the aclu is working in virtually all the states that have passed new laws and we're challenging voter i.d. in wisconsin for example, alongwith people on this panel. citizenship requirements in alabama and defending the very constitutionality of the voting rights act which is also under attack. and in the context of this larger trend though, there is a smaller trend but a very important trend that is happening in very, very alarming. in florida and iowa and south dakota, they have rolled back voting rights for people with criminal convictions even though they have been voting for years without negative consequences. and the trend in this states before that, for 15 years had been towards an easing of these of these restoration requirements even on a bipartisan basis. republican governors had been supporting the easing of these requirements. and here we are about to face another important election and there are millions of people who have served their time in prison
11:44 am
and because of just this issue only, not even all the other issues we talked about, but this issue only who won't be able to vote. we understand just in florida alone, up to one million people will be affected by this new draconian law. so i want to give a little bit of background about it. and so, the lay of the land, this is what the country looks like. every state, almost every state has a different law and two states, there are two states where you can actually vote from prison. most progressive states on issue, maine and vermont. four states, kentucky, virginia, florida, and iowa that essentially ban you for voting for life unless you have individual clemency from a governor. and all of, which is almost impossible. some have a 13-year waiting period just to get your clemency hearing and then clemency is rarely given. the rest of the states fall somewhere in between. you have to wait for parole
11:45 am
or probation to be over. so in total there are 5.3 million people who can't vote because of a criminal conviction and there are four million of those people who are in our communities, working, paying taxes, sending their kids to school, who have no voice in their political process. and one of the most problematic features of criminal disfranchisement laws that it is directly tied to discrimination in america and the impact continues today. so even though these laws existed since the revolutionary war period what happened, and you heard mr. butterfield eloquently discuss this, in part of the larger backlash against reconstruction, laws, we talked about, poll taxes, grandfather clauses, literacy tax, those all were designed to suppress the black vote as well as felony disfranchisement laws but the story of those is less well-known and less told. but they were all packed as part of the same scheme.
11:46 am
now the voting rights act got rid of those other forms of discrimination although we're seeing a rise again, right, in some of these laws. unfortunately criminal disfranchisement laws continue and, and as i said the impact continues today. the sentencing project estimated that 13% of african-american men have lost the right to vote, which is seven times the national average. and latino citizens who are also overrepresented in prisons are disproportionnally impacted by laws when they come out of jails as well. what we're seeing i fear is a national disgrace. 70% of the people who are disfranchised by these laws as i said, are part of our community, are part of your parishes. are trying to have a voice but generations are being silenced. federal congressional action is needed. there is a bill pending in congress called the democracy restoration act. and we would love your help with that. the faith community has been an incredible partner on the,
11:47 am
it is called the dra, the democracy restoration act coalition. you have always been stalwart advocates of change, are the groups that work with us emphasize the role of redemption and rehabilitation and why it is important to have this fundamental right restored and thanks in large parts to efforts of the brennan center, members of the faith community, are all active members and there is a letter here that we signed as members of the faith community, we sent to congress and we would love for your parishes and churches to be joined on that letter. and finally one other thing i wanted to mention is that some of the litigation that we're doing also with the faith community and how you might be able to join that effort. you have heard about the restrictions also on early voting and how that's impacting the sunday, the sunday before elections n ohio, yet another tactic to stop people from voting. they passed hb1 94 and it
11:48 am
would limit early voting. it would eliminate the requirement that poll workers help you find the right precinct, if you're in the wrong place. it would make absentee voting more difficult. despite statistics showing all of thesized voting administration process in ohio and what we've seen is that the members of the faith community in ohio have really demonstrated how this will be problematic. there are souls to the polls programs that many of the churches, maybe many of your churches organize where they're bringing entire congregations to the board of elections to vote early. and it was extremely popular in 2008 in ohio where there were lines for early voting. and this, this law in ohio would eliminate that sunday. it's not yet gone into effect and this is where you can help. because the aclu of ohio, our coalition partners, the
11:49 am
faith community, state legislatures all worked together, it will now be on the ballot to give the people of ohio in determining what is going to happen to them. but after november, the future of the souls to the polls programs and early voting itself it in jeopardy. so we need your help. and we've also, aclu created podcasts and other things with pastors that we work with who are trying to elevate this message of how important early voting is and how thees restrictions are clearly targeted attacks to stop people from voting. lastly i want to wrap up, in florida, similar story, there is another bill, unfortunately it has passed, hb 1355. omnibus voting rights bill. it had 80 changes to the florida election laws. it became the law in may. it cuts back among other things, early voting, again, the sunday before the elections of course. and other, variety of other things. also keep in mind one of the states that rolled back the
11:50 am
criminal disfranchisement laws. so from 2008 on the sunday before the election, african-american voters accounted for 32% of the voting turnout in florida. once again, not a coincidence this has been changed. so we've, we've strongly opposed this and we're working together with the faith community among other coalition partners in florida and we're currently litigating with other groups this law but we'll need your help there. and the last thing i wanted to end with is, the aclu is creating know your rights materials. so as we get closer to the election over the summer we're going to have brochures and cards that you can distribute in a lot of these states that have passed problematic laws. we'll talk about early voting in states that have done that. we'll talk about criminal disfranchisement in states that have done that. you can pass it out so your parishioners are aware what their rights are what they can do and how they get involved and go to
11:51 am
and start downloading the material by the end. summer. thank you very much. [applause] >> good morning, everyone. it is a great pleasure for me to be here this morning to talk to you about a subject that unfortunately is one that we are grappling with, decades after we thought we would be finished with it. i am the voting rights codirector from the lawyers committee for civil rights under law and 49 years ago president kennedy caed the private bar to the white house and said, we need your help in the fight for civil rights. you, the church, were out there in the streets and kennedy said we need a partnership between the church and the bar to fight and never suspecting almost 50 years later, we celebrate
11:52 am
our 50th anniversary next year we're still in the same fight. we are right now at a crossroads in our democracy where after decades of increasing access to vote we are now turning and reducing that access, and we're now fighting unbelievably to make sure all eligible voters have a right to vote. and we're fighting against laws across the country that have been detailed that have the potential to disenfranchise millions of voters and the frightening thing about this is that a lot of voters are not aware that these laws are being passed. and there are many people who went to the polls in 2008, in 2010, and don't know that when they go to the polls, in 2012, they may need an i.d. that they weren't aware they needed to have. they might be planning to go to the polls on sunday, before election day and
11:53 am
finding out no, you can no longer vote then. they may find out that they have been removed from the polls because, states like florida, now have a purging regime where you using faulty databases they are actually sending notices to voters saying you're not a citizen and not eligible. if you believe we're wrong, come to a hearing and bring proof. i mean this is what we're dealing right now in our democracy, and we're hearing that the reason for this is voter fraud. voter fraud is a phantom. yes there have been mistakes people have made in trying to vote but, what we've disever coulded they were mistakes or maybe acts of individuals but there is nothing within our democracy right now that threatens us to the extent that we need to take away the right of millions of voters to protect our democracy.
11:54 am
we're being fed this myth and instead what is happening is that the rights of millions and millions of voters are being taken away on our watch and we can not allow it to happen. and we are, we need your voices to let your parishioners know what is happening and we're here to let you know that we're here to work with you. nicole and both nicole and i have mentioned resources that are available. i'm going to talk to you a bit more about some resources that we have available and judy will also. the other battle that is going on is that the heart of the voting rights act is under attack. section 5 of the voting rights act which requires states to with history of discrimination to get federal approval before instituting their voting changes, that heart of the voting rights act is under attack. right now in federal court we have intervened in a case
11:55 am
where shelby county, alabama, has brought a challenge to the section 5 of the voting rights act. florida and the changes that i mentioned, when they with drew the review from the doj, took it to the courts. they want the courts to decide whether we can pass these laws. oh by the way, if the court decides that we can't pass these laws, we object, we challenge the constitutionality of section 5 which requires us to do that. similarly texas, after texas passed its photo i.d. law and doj said this law discriminates against minorities and we object, they're now in the d.c. court asking the courts to approve the voter i.d. law, oh and by the way, we challenged the constitutionality of section 5. so far the district courts in d.c. and the d.c. circuit court held upheld the constitutionality of section
11:56 am
5. but this will be before the supreme court next term and we need your voices to speak up about why section 5 is needed because as we saw in, texas and in south carolina, the department of justice was able to show that these voter i.d. laws, you're saying what are a big deal? they show they discriminate against minorities. this is why section 5 is still needed. this is why congress decided section 5 is still needed. we need to protech the hearts of the voting rights act. we're now in, the horrible position of fighting to hold onto to gains we made decades ago. we thought that was over. let's move onto the next fight. the battle continues. i also wanted to mention national voter registration act, nvra, motor voter, we passed that in 1991 to make it easier to register to vote. that is not being implemented.
11:57 am
okay. the nvr mother voter is not being implemented. we're bringing action against the states, state of ohio, state of missouri, the state of indiana. the state of georgia to enforce the, enforce registration opportunities when people go to public assistance agencies. and because of our litigation, now over a million voters have been offered the opportunity to register to vote. i've been asked to explain a bit more about section 5 of the voting rights act. so, as we know, we've lived the history of states that discriminated against minorities and the voting rights act requires those states, before any voting change they make, they have to submit it to either doj or to the district court in
11:58 am
the district of columbia before approval before they can be implemented such as photo i.d. laws that texas passed. they said no, you can't use a student i.d. in order to be able to vote but you can use a concealed gun permit in order to be able to vote. south carolina, that has also passed similar laws. before those laws could be implemented they had to get review. doj said no, these laws discriminate. the law allows them to go to the courts and now they're before the court. like i said they're challenging the very basis of having to submit to this review. so all of these laws that you've been hearing about that have been passed, though pose a special challenge to us and that challenge is, that we now have to take back our democracy. we have to fight back for our democracy. we have to raise our voices. we have to let the people, the voters out there who are unaware of these changes, we need to join together and let them know that the
11:59 am
changes have occurred. those that need i.d. in pennsylvania or tennessee, we have to see how we can help them to get the i.d. that's needed. those who are in texas or south carolina need to know that even though the states passed an i.d. law they're not yet being implemented. and we have, all together come up with a various resources. i want to talk to you a bit about that. in 2000 after the presidential election of 2000 and voters were purged and voters couldn't vote, we, in the bar realized that litigation alone was not the best way to address problems in voting and formed the election protection coalition. this is a coalition to help voters before and on election day to be able to exercise their right to vote, to answer any questions that they have. we have a hotline, a nationwide hotline. 866-our-vote,at


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on